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tv   Starting Point  CNN  February 21, 2012 7:00am-9:00am EST

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we'll talk about that. plus, a nose job, getting a bra breast enhancement and liposuction at the tay taxpayer's -- spit out my coffee. how public schoolteachers in the middle of the -- i am not making this up -- are getting away with this. it is part of their deal. it costs literally millions of dollars. "starting point" beginning right now. ♪ this is mine. this is mine. come on. what's not to love. i got this album in eighth grade. my dad gave it to me. i used to love this song. welcome. "tainted love," one of my favorite songs when i was a teenager. let's get right to our panel this morning. congressman scott garrett is with us, republican from the great state of new jersey who grabbed his coffee and moved it when i kind of spit my coffee out. my apologies sir. i am usually much better behaved
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than that. and editor and publisher of "the nation" and the editor of "the change i believe in." steve is back. political writer for "salon.com. our "starting point" this morning is the national polls and the polls show rick santorum is surging. up by double dinlg jimts. sometimes we say surge and it's not really a surge but i think this time it's fair to say surge. nine months before the election democrats are going on the attack. there are plans to hit both now rick santorum and mitt romney and there's a new e-mail on the democratic national committee yesterday that said this about santorum. quote, rick santorum has embraced the same philosophy that created the economic crisis. his tax plan would primarily benefit the very wealthy while adding $900 billion to the national deficit. it would be a disaster for middle class families. let's get right to jennifer, democratic strategist, former white house deputy communications director. it's nice to have you. >> good morning, soledad.
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>> the dnc is now attacking rick santorum because he's rising and he very possibly could be the nominee, or, alternatively, the dnc is attacking rick santorum to give him more credibility so he can undermine the process which, might have mitt romney leading. what do you think? which is it? >> well, look, this reflects the changing dynamics in the race. nobody would have thought a year ago that rick santorum would be giving mitt romney a run for his money. mitt romney is still out spending rick santorum more 2-1 in michigan right now and still leading in the polls. really, this is really more of a reflection from mitt romney and the fact that republicans can't get comfortable with him. people don't like what he's offering. they don't feel he's offering a genuinal tern tifr ae al terter for something else. look, it's like picking between liver and lima beans. >> i like lima beans. i like lima beans just fine and i make my children eat them.
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>> you may prefer pizza or something else. but you know, people will accept -- i know people in the republican party will accept what they're offered. it's not really something they're getting excited about. >> my question is, who do democrats want to ruin against? i know there are meetings about this. i know people strategize. the person we want the nominee to be is -- who is it? >> the reality, soledad, is that the strategy is the same both ways. you read before i spoke -- before i started speaking here about the e-mail that the democratic national committee saying yesterday, there are still concerns about the democratic party about what santorum represents when it comes to the economy. in addition to social issues. so regardless of who the nominee is the strategy is going to be the same. it's going to be who are you fighting for, the president is fighting for the middle class. santorum, romney, gingrich, if he has a surge. they're all fighting for the 1%. >> could i ask, i have a feeling sometimes that rick santorum believes he's running for theologian in chief or to be
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pope of the united states. how does -- how do you see the framing of rick santorum on women's issues broadly defined? i'm not just talking about choice or contraception, but on economic issues that are also very important to women? >> absolutely. i'm so glad you asked that question because, you know, in the last couple of weeks, as we have heard more from rick santorum as the spotlight has been shining more on rim, we heard him say things like questioning -- we've heard more about him questioning working women. we've heard him say birth control could pose a health risk. >> rising in the polls. >> yes. >> it might be work for him really well. >> well, i think it also -- the argument also could be that people just can't get comfortable with mitt romney and they have not -- no one is getting a mitt romney for president tattoo. you can't buy energy and enthusiasm for a campaign even with all the money he has.
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so looking for an alternative. and what's so interesting about it is how far out of the mainstream rick santorum's issues are and still looeding in the polls. >> i actually do like liver and bacon so there are something that coincides with lima beans. when you talk about whether the president is going to be attacking santorum or whether he's going to be attacking romney, isn't the focus here should be that the president really can't win at the end of the day if he just runs on his own record but rather the fact that he has to be attacking somebody? is that the fact that the president just can't win this race, if he just goes back and says this is how great the economy is after three years of the obama presidency? >> i'm actually going to contradict your theory here because last week you had mitt romney and rick santorum gouging each other's eyes out on the campaign trail and president obama was out in washington state talking about how to sell american goods abroad by increasing exports.
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so the contrast is clear. what we're talking about here is the campaign for whoever the nominee is. of course they're going to be prepared. but the president is laying out what his agenda is, who he is fighting for, what he's going to do for the middle class. haven't really seen many answers on that from the other side of the aisle. >> actually, i think you had. both in congress and by the candidates. i have not endorsed either one of the candidates but obviously romney has laid out 59-point plan. he had laid out exactly what he's going to do. santorum laid out a smaller plan. the presidential candidates laid out what they're going to do. i think it's natural the two of them would be battling themselves but what is not so natural is for the president to be engaged on what this segment is all about. engaged is attacking both of them. the president should be engaged not talking about the president or the republican primary. the president should be talking about what he's going to do. >> i have a filibustering from panelists, which i like, but final question. he's basically saying, listen, if the president were well positioned wouldn't he be running on his record and
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wouldn't have to bother about talking about the other candidate? >> if you look at fats the president is running on his record. he talked about exports last week. he's laid out what he would do for housing to keep people in their homes. he's talked about fighting for the middle class tax cut and putting an end to the tax cuts for the wealthiest americans. i'm glad you refers referenced the plan because in there i don't see three details of what mitt romney would to for the middle class. that's what this debate and campaign is going to be about. >> we're going to continue this conversation. >> thank you, soledad. >> thanks for being with us this morning. let's get right to christine though who has other headlines. good morning. >> good morning to you, soledad. new this morning, greece finally securing a second bailout. the largest sovereign debt bailout in the history of the european union. it's $172 billion. that's how much greece gets in aid and low-interest loans in return. greece agreed to even more spending cuts. another $431 million worth. leaders of the,u, the international monetary fund, and
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the european central bank all met late into the night last night ironing out actually hashing out details of this agreement, hoping to save greece from default. and markets like it so far at least. stock futures for the dow, the nasdaq, and the s&p 500 are up slightly right now, going into today's session, the dow is about 50 points shy of the 13,000 mark. closed at the highest level since may 2008 last week. markets were closed yesterday for the holiday. but even as the dow goes higher, so do gas prices. new worries over rising gas prices. aaa says the national average for a sgal lgallon of regular i $3.57. hawaii, it already costs more than $4 a gallon. analysts blame the hike of recent threats for iran. iran cut off oil sales for britain and france. they worry new threats could boast prices to $5 a gallon by summer. aftermath of severe weather, first responders desperately digging through this wreckage.
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video of an all-out search for two people who were trapped in oklahoma. the local sheriff confirmed that one person was killed. one was rescued. the mobile home shredded in that severe storm in kansas and oklahoma last night. the storm pounding the plains with hail, rain, and 70-mile-per-hour winds. just a couple of hours jury selection begins in philadelphia in a criminal trial involving city's catholic archdiocese. three priests and a catholic schoolteacher are charged with sexually abusing young boys. a fifth defendant is accused of child endangerment and conspiracy for allegedly covering this all up. the colbert report back on the air. stephen colbert took two days off last week reportedly to attend to his ailing 91-year-old mother. last night colbert gave special tribute to mom and a confidential message. >> evidently having 11 children makes you tough as nails.
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confidential to a lovely lady. >> oh, colbert placed a finger to his nose there in hop manage of actress carol burnett signal to his grandmother. he used to tug her ear to say, i love you. eat, drink, and be merry, it's fat tuesday, soledad. >> mardi gras. >> only partying in new orleans. a dozen parades getting ready to roll in and around the big easy. as you know, it's the last big blowout of carnival season before ash wednesday. >> oh, my gosh. people here haven't been. my panelists full of people haven't been. >> i haven't either. >> what is wrong with you people? >> you must be the least fun group of people i've ever met. so today this morn, 9:00 a.m., zulu, the crew of zulu rolls and i got to be mrs. big stuff in zulu in 2009. you have coconuts of throwing to people, i was worried about injuring people so i gently hand them. >> next year, a school trip. >>y, a school trip. down bourbon street.
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so much fun. christine, thank you. still ahead this morning on "starting point," we're going to talk to a teenager who fought to get a prayer banner out of her school. now she's receiving a scholarship from an atheist organization and receiving some death threats. public school system pays for openers to get plastic surgery. i knew i should have been a teacher in buffalo. truly, enough money to hire 100 extra teachers has been spent on breast implants and tummy tucks, et cetera, et cetera. it's our "get real" this morning. this is congressman garrett's play list, the doors. look at you, the doors. you're so cool. "break on through." what's this? [ male announcer ] quaker oatmeal squares have 46 grams of whole grains... mmmm. ...and a touch of sweetness. you'll be delighted to discover how good they taste. get your free sample of quaker oatmeal squares
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good music, always a good sign. sometimes we start off slow on the music and it's like we cannot recover.
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that's katrina's list "fight the power." this is very apropos for our next story. story of a young woman who launched a fight to get a prayer banner taken down at her high school and in return she got a big boost for going to college. she filed a lawsuit over this banner which is hard to read. it was hanging in the auditorium. she's an atheist and she said the banner made her felt of of place. it says this. hour heavenly father grant us each day the desire to do our best and morally and physically to be kind and helpful to class plates and teachers. the banner has been ruled unconstitutional. just last week though there was a heated debate about appealing that ruling. and it was caught on youtube actually. parents who showed their anger by emphatically reciting the "pledge of allegiance." here's what that looked like.
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so you can see what this fight turned into. the school committee eventually decided not to appeal and we are learning that an atheist group has raised $40,000 for a scholarship fund for jessica. jessica joins us this morning from providence, ro rk, rhode i. we read a little bit as you heard about the banner. dear heavenly father, grant us each day the desire to do our best, to be kind and helpful. doesn't sound too objectionable to me. what didn't you like about this banner? >> well, it's objectionable because it's against the law. and also bautecause it makes pee feel excluded. when you have something like a school prayer it's, first of all, it's very christian. not many of the religions refer to their god as heavenly father or end with amen. and secondly, if you don't believe in any kind of god or you don't pray at all, then this
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is essentially saying that as a school prayer, it doesn't include you. >> so you were born catholic and then when you were about 10 years old your mom died. and this is really what changed your faith. can you tell me a little bit about that? >> my mom didn't die. >> oh, i'm sorry. your mom got sick. forgive me. >> yeah. my mother was sick. and i had some, you know, family issues going on. and it kind of started me praying. and from there, questioning what i believed in. and i eventually came to the conclusion that i didn't believe in anything. >> so what i have read is that when your mom got sick and you were praying for her to get better you realized that those prayers weren't actually working. is this the right way to put it and you felt like, well, then, there's nothing in this? is that appropriate to say? >> not only the fact that my prayers weren't being answered, but because i was praying, you
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know, i was thinking more about it, i was thinking do i really need god's assistance? i bet other people probably need it more than i do, more than my family does. why isn't he helping them either. it just kind of brought all of these questions to mind. and in the end i decided he must not exist. >> we were just showing some pictures of angry parents who were, you know, very loudly talking the "pledge of aallegiance" in this meet that clearly became very full of anger. what do you make of the hostility that's come out around this? you've gotten death threats, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and -- >> it's been really difficult, obviously, just to constantly have this feeling of hatred towards me in my community. the meeting itself was difficult but it's kind of what's been going on for a long time now. and, you know, i think i'm ready for it at this point. but you never really get used to
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hearing about how bad you are really. it always hurts. and death threats obviously have always hurt my feelings. i just kind of gotten to a point to where i can cope with it. it's not so much that i'm okay with it happening but i'm able to cope with it now. >> there's a congress person, state rep who -- peter column who, and he said this about you. he said you are an evil little thing. and you've had to have a police escort take you to school. have you responded to him? >> yes. i haven't responded to him directly, but the response so far of that comment has -- it's almost a bit of a mockery. i feel it's immature and inappropriate for a state representative who represents me also, by the way, to be calling me something as petty as an evil little thing. and so while it does kind of hurt a bit, we've kind of turned it into a joke.
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>> i've heard about that. you have a friend who is now coopted the phrase. i hope you've trademarked that, evil little thing, and t-shirts that is selling to help fund your college education. is that right? >> that is right. there's a website where people have been purchasing the t-shirts. i have seen lots of people at the meeting wore them and people take pictures of themselves wearing them and post them to facebook so i can see. and i think it's really cute. and in a lot of ways i think he's little comment has kind of backfired because now we're using it as a positive thing. you know, it's almost a way of saying that people stand with me. >> jessica alquist, you are the recipient of more than $40,000 of scholarship money as well. are you going to be a lawyer when you grow up? >> i don't think so. >> maybe too much of the lawyer on that. jessica, thank you for talking with us this morning. i think the banner is going to come down next week. am i right about that? >> i don't know yet. it will be down shortly, i assume. >> the banner is still hanging in the school. thank you. still ahead on "starting
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point," the sheriff accuse of threatening to deport his gay lover. we're going to talk to the reporter who broke that story as well. plus, plastic surgery on the taxpayer's dime. botox, facelift, nose job. this sh a reason to be a teacher in buffalo. we'll tell you how this struggling town is getting away with it. you're watching "starting point." we're back in just a moment. forty years ago, he wasn't looking for financial advice. back then he had something more important to do. he wasn't focused on his future. but fortunately, somebody else was. at usaa we provide retirement planning for our military, veterans and their families. now more than ever, it's important to get financial advice from people who share your military values. for our free usaa retirement guide, call 877-242-usaa.
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♪ this is big and rich, "coming to your city." this is sean spicer is going to be talking to us later this
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morning from rnc. this is his pick. i like it already. time to "get real" this morning. millions of dollars spent on plastic surgery in a single year. i'm talking nose jobs, liposuction, face lifts, breast enhancement. you name it. we're not talking about some out of control reality tv star. we're talking about public schoolteachers in buffalo new york. all of their plastic surgery is paid for under one of their insurance plan options. they are billed for nothing. it started in the '70s as a rider to cover reconstructive surgery for burn victims before cosmetic surgery was as common as it was today. last year the total spent was, $6 million. $6 million. that's down from $9 million that was spent in 2009. this as the buffalo board of education is projecting a $42 million deficit in the budget next year. listen to this. >> we do have this $9.5 million spent on plastic surgery, what would you be doing with it?
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>> hiring about 240 teachers. >> we're going to give it up. all the district has to do is come to the table and negotiate a difference. >> but you're not willing to do it unilaterally? >> no. >> it's all come down to a big fight. teachers union reportedly been working without a contract since 2004. and of course they're trying to figure out both sides to get to the table and negotiating tool. maybe free botox, face-lifts, worth not having a contract. i don't know. the numbers are off if you're a teacher. ahead this morning -- you know what, we have time for this? no. playing the music. so i was going to ask you guys what you thought. >> i'm curious what these teachers look like. >> apparently very hot. >> i'm happy to be here sitting with you, soledad, admiring you. but i'm not sure this is a story. one, the teachers union has done very innovative reforms, two, do a story on the workers in buffalo trying to find jobs in the country. this is the kind of story that
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is like welfare story, it's a blip, it's a kind of i'd you sin krat tick story that is going to make people around this country even more turned off of the need for government, which we need. >> i don't think that's true. i think it's both. i think there's both. i don't think that's true. i think we do, for example, yesterday we were talking about innovating solutions in education yesterday with steve perry. we certainly cover that. i do think you're not talking about $230,000, which is a drop in the bucket in terms of education. you're talking $9 million in 2009. you're talking $6 million, this year. >> deserves attention but does it deserve five minutes on cnn. >> now we're taking it seven by the conversation. >> people's airwaves. there are so many other stories that deserve more attention. and i do think that this is part of the sort of pneumatic government bashing in a way. this is a serious problem. should be exposed. >> debate. i disagree with you. i've had many of these conversations because when we do documentaries, what do you spend your time on?
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you have an hour. my theory was you owe it to do all. expand the number of stories, especially a lot of stuff that i focused on was race. people say, do you do positive stories about latinos or crime and poverty and what do you do? >> exposing. you need exposing of abuse. but there are such abuses in this country and in the world. >> i'm going to disagree. >> i agree with you to this extent because my daughter is in college and she wants to become a teacher and she knows how challenging it is. maybe what the balance on this story would be, not to say you're not balanced here -- >> my panel is revolting around me. >> do a segment of saying, this is what it's like to teach in buffalo and the challenges with -- with the kids there and problems economically there to show that it's tough to be a teacher as well. >> i would argue that we can do that. i would argue that to me the goal across the board truly, i'm not being sarcastic at all. what you have to do is a range.
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you have to do the good, the bad, the augustly. when you're reporting on race, ethnicities, botox, you know, you really sort of owe it to do the range of things. this particular issue, this is obviously a point of contention in their negotiations. they haven't had a contract since 2004. >> we agree with the representative. see a good story on the challenges of teaching. >> my mom was a teacher in harlem. talk about the challenges of teaching back then, yeah. so i know all about that. all right. do you have anything you want to add? >> i'm curious, to be honest with you, because it's clearly a great pr move in terms of, i assume this came from the district in contentious negotiations with the union and this is the kind of story that is impossible to refute from the union standpoint. >> it's true. >> how much of that, $6 million or $9 million, i forgot the number, how much of that is bill is public money versus how much does the insurance company gets paid, how much -- >> i think all of those numbers
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for you but they say the math is they could hire 200 teachers. >> is that money that taxpayers are directly paying for? >> i'm going to find out. we have to go to break but we're going to find out for you and continue that conversation. all right. still ahead this morning on "starting point," if you ever wish there was a pill that could erase all of your worst memories, believe it or not they are developing this, a mind eraser for people who have post traumatic stress and want to forget the terrible memory. the man in charges of getting the message out for the rnc with rick santorum surging. is there a fear of a war on the convention floor? we're going to talk about that in a moment. i tried weight loss plans... but their shakes aren't always made for people with diabetes. that's why there's new glucerna hunger smart shakes. they have carb steady, with carbs that digest slowly to help minimize blood sugar spikes. and they have 6 grams of sugars. with 15 grams of protein to help manage hunger... look who's getting smart about her weight. [ male announcer ] new glucerna hunger smart. a smart way to help manage hunger and diabetes.
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you know, typical alarm clock. i am so glad to get rid of it. just to be able to wake up in the morning on your own. that's a big accomplishment to me. i don't know how much money i need. but i know that whatever i have that's what i'm going to live within. ♪ ♪
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and welcome back to "starting point." let's get right to christine with the headlines this morning. good morning. >> good morning again, soledad. new developments overnight in syria. the red cross trying to broker a cease-fire to get humanitarian aid to homs and other areas where there's a critical shortage of food and vital
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supplies. 18 people killed across the country today, including 3 children. historic day in yemen. people are voting in their first presidential election in more than three decades. the vote signals a formal end to the long rein of forced to step down in november after months of protests. his successor is the only candidate on the ballot. he wanted an election to make his presidency official. former imf chief and former french presidential hopeful dominick strauss-kahn caught up in a new sex scandal. now questioned by french police about his alleged involvement in a prostitution ring. police are accusing strauss-kahn of organizing sex parties at luxury hotels. he was charged last may with attempted rape of a hotel worker in new york. those charges were later dropped. president obama hoping the payroll tax deal is just the start of a productive year. our jessica yellin learned the president is expected to push congress to pass more
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legislation, legislation to help the economy, to create more jobs, at an event at 11:35 eastern this morning. that will be his theme. we're the only network with this story right now. big change from the white house which sounded like it was accept that congress will sit on its hands during this election year. got on iphone 4? keep an eye out for an e-mail from apple. apple settled a class action suit. it was nicknamed the iphone death grip. apple promising to a15 buck or give a free case to everyone in the united states who bought an iphone 4. and scientists have reportedly developed a drug to erase painful memories. sounds like something right out of that film "eternal shunshine of the spotless mind." >> here we have perfected a safe, effective technique for the focused erasure. in a matter of hours, patented nonsurgical procedure will rid you of painful memories and allow you a new and lasting
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peace of mind you never imagined possible. >> that was a movie but the forgetting pill treatment could be used to help patients with post traumatic stress disorder. a real practical and important application. >> sometimes it is hard to get those pick chutures out of your. i remember coming back from haiti, it took a very long time before you could like sleep without seeing horrible pictures going through your head. i'm sure i didn't see the worst of it. christine, thanks. it is just one day until cnn's republican debate. rick santorum is surging to front of the pack. that's raising questions about mitt romney's lebtibility. and a lot of talk about a brokered convention where we could see just a completely different candidate get into the race. but one poll is find that this is not what most republicans are saying. 55% of republicans wish somebody else was running. 66% of republicans don't want a brokered convention. that's sort of contradictory. sean spicer is the communications director, republican national committee. we liked your musical choice earlier this morning.
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>> thank you. >> explain the contradiction in those two graphics. 55%. they don't particularly care whole who is running. 66% say they don't want the brokered convention. >> i think if you look at the numbers there's a lot of agreement on our side in terms of that we want to replace barack obama. everybody is going to be unified. a lot of folks have two choices. they want to vote for this person but here's my second choice. and so if you go real deep into the numbers i think there is actual satisfaction with the four candidates that we have. one of them will be our nominee and they will go on to victory in november. >> let me stop you there. there are many people now talking about this letter being circulated, deadline for states and certain math that can be done with the primaries that are late enough where you could get your filing in so you could run as a candidate. there are 14 states which are roughly 7 00 delegates and you can enter the race. all of that is for someone right this moment not in the race to enter the race. is that true, is that correct?
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>> i'll be honest with you. i spent about as much time thinking about that as i have winning powerball. >> really? you might be winning powerball, sir. >> i think, soledad, the reality, it's who is this magical person? it's, you know, i think that there is satisfaction with the four candidates. they're doing a great job out there bringing the case to the people. but there are a lot of folks who sit around and say, well, what if and what if. who is this person that they're speaking of? >> okay. let me -- let's throw up some names. here are some names -- i'm not making these up. these are names that have been discussed consistently. chris christie. >> who said no. >> jeb bush, paul ryan, mitch daniels. mitch daniels spokesperson said the knocking on the door has been a pounding on the door to get him to enter the race. >> and every one of those folks has said no. but let's put this in perspective. we have a total of 2 2rks 88 delegates at stake. four states have -- that
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actually award delegates are voting. if you think in terms of a sports season, 56-game schedule, 56 states and territories, 4 have voted. a total of 113 dell greaegates been awarded. we are in the first couple of games in the season here and people are trying to figure out the playoffs or the word series or the super bowl. >> i buy that. i'm not good with sports analogies usually but that one was a very good one. >> thank you. >> let me throw another one back at you not in an analogy form. what happens if mitt romney loses the state of michigan, that's the big game. it's coming up soon. if that big game is lost, does that spell trouble forgetting to end? >> look, i'm not trying to get around the question. at the rnc our job isn't to figure out who is going to be the winner of the nominee. our job is to prep the field, if you will, to put the money in the bank, to get the organization and the message ready so that we have -- when we have that nominee -- >> that is a dodge. you preface it by saying i'm not
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trying to avoid the question but you're avoiding the question. what happens? >> i'm not here to decide, you know, what happens if one candidate win or loses. each candidate and the voters have to make a decision. that's not our job. frankly, for too long i think people have said, you know, people in washington, the rnc, the establishment, if you will, have gotten in the way of this process. so chairman pref previs and the rnc have made it clear. the voters will make the decision as to who the nominee is. the candidates will decide for themselves whether they stay in or stay out of a race. >> you know, i want to back up what sean is saying here actually because i think it is possible that we could end up with a deadlock convention in this scenario but i think the talk of the deadlock convention is vastly, vastly overrated. it's fascinating to think about and almost certainly won't happen. if you look back you can find so many forgotten moments from modern political history where at roughly this point at either
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party's nominating contest there was rampant talk about if bill clinton doesn't win the new york primary against jerry brown the democrats are going to revolt and broker. eight times since 1976. >> i putting too much emphasis on michigan? >> i think michigan is important but over stated. i think it will still be a long hard slog to nomination for mitt romney. i wanted to ask sean spicer, if i might. does the flood of super pac money that we're only giping to see, mr. spicer, make the rnc obsolete? >> i actually don't -- first of all, when you look at the total amount raised, and i'm not demeaning -- i think super pacs have a role in this cycle. but when you look at the rnc last year raised $87 million. we have $23 million in the bank. most of those super pacs haven't even come close to what the rnc has been able to raise or do. so in terms of the total amount of money which is i think you're driving at, katrina -- >> and influence in terms of the primary season which we've seen so clearly with mitt romney's
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money and adelson and keeping it alive. >> are they playing a role? absolutely. but the rnc, again, you're talking about the primary and the choosing of the nominee, that's not a role we would play in any fashion anyway. so i think from that standpoint, you know, does it play a role to help or hinder some of these candidates? sure. from our stand point looking forward to the general election, however, i think that we have shown, demonstrated not only our ability to raise the money that's needed, we've out raised the democratic national committee for the most part several of the last months. when you looked yesterday when all the candidate filed, the rnc and the republican candidates raised more money than obama and the dnc by a lot. >> can i -- i'm sorry. i didn't mean to interrupt you i just want to ask you about rick santorum and social issues, because, you know, even some of his own people have talked about how he's moved the focus off of the economy and on to socialist.
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let me play you highlights and then ask you a question on the other side. >> i can't and i won't check my faith at the door because it motivates me to do things that i believe are betts for our country. >> i do not believe life begins at conception. i know life begins at conception. >> i do have concerns about women in front line combat. i think that can be a very compromising situation. >> so santorum strategist said that he thinks the social issues are overshadowing the economy and certainly in the last week and a half we've seen that. do you think that that's a bad strategy or a winning strategy, rising in the polls? >> well, i'll go back to something i said earlier. i'm not going to give each candidate advice. they have to decide for themselves on how to run the campaigns. social issues have always been a huge part of the republican party.
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i think whether or not it's the question of life or some of the other issues, i think social issues have been important to not only the republican party, the conservative movement, and i think to some degree largely the electorate, the general election electorate, as well. so again, i'm not going to decide which candidate is, you know, using social issues more or less, but i think there's no question that social issues are a part of the republican party's message. and -- but i think at the end of the day this is going to be an economic election and a referendum on whether barack obama has, you know, kept -- kept his promises to turn this economy around, bring jobs home, deal with the debt and the deficit. >> sean spicer joining us this morning. communications director for the rnc. nice to have you. >> thank you very much, soledad. still ahead on "starting point," sheriff accused of threatening to deport his gay lover is speaking out to cnn and we have the reporter who works for that paper who broke that story. you're watching "starting point." back right after this break.
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a sheriff accused of threatening to deport his gay lover is speaking out on cnn. the foe tease owe merged of the sheriff and his ex-boyfriend whose name is jose. they've been talking to cnn. there's other photos. the sheriff is running for congress. he had built a national reputation about taking a hard line on immigration. all of this is threatening to derail his political career. he was talking to wolf blitzer. he says all of these allegations were politically motivated. >> this has been trying to get
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rolled out by numerous political opponents and now it has under this slanderous, baseless attack. now everybody reports it as if it was true from this tabloid. nobody's verified any of the facts. >> monica alanzo is a reporter who broke the story from the phoenix new times. he called your paper a tabloid. give me a little background on how the story was broken. >> jose approached us because he was tired of being threatened, intimidated by the sheriff. he calls us a tabloid. he says that the allegations are baseless. this isn't about him being gay. he also says that it's some kind of political motivation to out him. it's a worst kept secret here in many political circles. he even said it saturday at his press conference. it was well known that he was gay. people had been coming to phoenix new times and other media outlets trying to get us to report this, including his own sister. we never reported that because this isn't about him being gay, it's about him being accused of
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using his former boyfriend's visa status as leverage to keep him silent about the relationship. >> what has his former -- i'm sorry for interrupting. what has his former boyfriend, jose, said about his visa stat tugs. >> jose has always maintained that his visa status is in order. he's here legally. his attorney has confirmed that. now paul's even saying that jose is here legally. at this point it's not an issue anymore, but clearly it was an issue in letters that jose has provided us, they make reference to these claims that were being made about his visa not being -- that his visa was expired, that he wasn't here legally. also there's letters here that talk about them having to file an injunction against harassment against the sheriff if he didn't stop threatening and intimidating. the other thing that's important to point out, i know he says the story's false. that's his right to deny the
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allegations that jose is making, but one of the text messages that he sends, he doesn't deny the text message, he doesn't deny that it's him in the photograph, one of the text messages he sent to jose is you'll never have business here again. it also says that jose's going to cause great harm not only to himself but also to his family. what did he mean by that? you know, so, i mean, there is some evidence that there was something more going on here, that it isn't just about, as he describes it, you know, some political motivation or some attack on him because he's gay. >> this is steve. i'm kind of curious what the reaction is on the ground there specifically from republicans. what kind of fascinates me about this story is obviously there's an issue, everything you're raising about whether there was intimidation. if you can put that aside, we have something interesting here that there's sort of an openly gay conservative folk here. this guy has been all over fox news. he's been a hero on the right. he was sort of outed. he said, yes, i'm gay, that's
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it. i'm kind of cure youmpts he's in a conservative republican district. he's running for congress. is that a subject that's coming up? is that something that's causing concern among his conservative constituents there? >> clearly he has a lot of support. people are rallying around him and defending his right to be gay. i think that's part of the sheriff trying to make this about his sexuality and that he's under attack for that reason. certainly there are people that are not going to support him anymore. it is a very conservative district that he's running in, and he even mentioned at one of the press conferences that even if people want their money back, their political donations back, he feels that there's going to be more money coming in because he dealt with this honestly. we see the fallout, too, him stepping down from the mitt romney campaign here in arizona. yeah, so there's definitely going to be some fallout for him politically, it's going to be up to voters to decide.
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his opponents in congressional district 4 running on a very strong family values ticket. that really gives you an idea of how conservative the district is. it's going to be -- i don't know. we have to wait and see whether they accept him and his explanation for all of this. >> monica alonzo is with the phoenix new times. thanks for talking with us. we'll check back and see how the whole election goes. appreciate it. still ahead on "starting point," he's on the radar now. congressman steve israel on how democrats are planning on going after rick santorum, washington, hollywood, seinfeld, stephan nop poe louse. here's part of her play list. i love her already. sister sledge. can't beat that. "we are family." what a great way to start, with the family here on "starting point." we're back in a moment ♪ get up everybody and sing ♪ we are family calories or less
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digits. this morning. we're going to talk to one of the people ready to skraft the mess same. they say president obama is dangerous and that defeang him is a duty of national security. we'll talk about that this morning. then the daughter of a reagan aide who went to hollywood, came back to marry an ex-krin ton staffer. it's called ali in wonder land. "starting point" begins right "starting point" begins right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com katrina is hooking us up. from the nation, editor and publisher is joining us this morning as part of our panel. steve kernake is with us. we have congressman scott
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garrett joining us from the great state of new jersey just across the river from us. let's begin with our "starting point" this morning. one day until cnn's republican presidential debate. santorum's rising poll numbers not only making mitt romney's folks nervous, also catching the attention of the obama re-election campaign. democrats are now going on the attack against romney and santorum. they've been hitting santorum on the economy, romney on the auto industry bailout position. one release from the dnc about santorum reads this, rather than focusing on jobs, the economy or any other issues that matter, he's discussed man's dominion over earth. you're in west bab, am i right about that? nice to see you, sir. >> your hometown. >> yeah. yeah. kind of. nice to have you. let's get right to it. give me the strategy behind going after rick santorum right now. is it because you think he is a viable threat in the general election or is it to raise his profile so that it can
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ultimately undermine mitt romney as they make their way through the primary process on the gop side? which is it? >> well, the chair the democratic congressional campaign committee and the strategy is none of the above. the strategy is to contrast our priorities with their priorities. every time they favor subsidies for big oil companies instead of investments in the middle class, every time they favor tax breaks for the wealthy instead of -- and also at the same time favor cuts in medicare, every time they favor the wrong priorities we're going to get up and attack them on the priorities. we're not attacking them personally, we' talking the wrong priorities for the middle class. >> i'm going to ask you a question from "the new york times" reporting that the obama campaign is going to be send, they didn't say surrogates, they sort of said, i forget the word, surrogates to go into michigan and hold press conferences about mitt romney's really position on the auto bailout of detroit.
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so my question is who exactly are those surrogates and what exactly are they going to say? >> well, i expect that there's going to be plenty of people who will go to michigan and around the country and tell the story of how mitt romney was four square opposed to the recovery of the auto industry. he opposed the critical efforts that had to be invested in making sure that american auto manufacturers did not close down, shut down against a huge competition around the world. you know, it's a -- >> but who's the who? >> who are you for? >> you answered what they're going to say which wasn't my question. who are you tapping to go into michigan to deliver this mess same for the president? >> you're going to see plenty of people. the most eloquent spokespeople for the recovery of the auto industry led by president obama and house democrats are the people who work in the auto industry. the people who did not lose their jobs who are working now building american cars and an
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economy that is built to last. those would be the most eloquent surrogates for the president. >> steve, scott garrett here. good morning. you know, steve, when -- >> hey, scott. i disagree with your play list. >> you can't fight over the play list. it doesn't go like that. go back to your question. >> debate that. sorry, scott. >> that's okay. so when president obama was candidate obama he said that he would have three years to get the economy back on track otherwise the public would not accept him going into the next election. isn't the real reason that he's going after the republican candidates right now is because he can't win this thing if he runs on his own track record? >> listen, scott, i hope he does run on his own track record because the track record that he inherited was month after month after month of consecutive job losses. hemorrhaging in this country. his policies have helped rebuild the middle class, have created jobs, generated job growth as opposed to the romney, santorum
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house republican policies that got us into this mess. it's been tough to get out of this mess but we've been standing for the middle class while too many of your colleagues in congress have been standing for oil company executives. we're the ones that had to bring you guys kicking and screaming over the finish line to extend the middle class tax cut. we'll compare our priorities for the middle class against house republican priorities any day of the week and we'll win. >> will you join with me then in sending a letter to senator reid to say move some of these bills that have been sent over, some bipartisan bills over to the senate that just sit there right now and ask senator reid to move a budget after 1,000 days? president obama has said part of the reason things aren't getting anything done so will you work with me to get senator reid to start doing something over in the senate? >> scott, i'll -- as long as if you want to be bipartisan, as long as the letter is going to the republicans in the senate who have filly bustered and obstructed, that's fine. >> that's kind of a koom bay yeah moment. >> looking at a bill that would
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end the $40 billion in oil company subsidies at a time of record breaking profits and put that into a fund for flex fuel vehicles so that the american consumer can get a break for once. you look at my idea and i'll look at yours. >> congressman -- >> i'll show you mine, you show me yours. >> it's steve. i'm curious, it seems to me that president obama's standing in the polls has clearly improved a little bit. his prospects for re-election have too. it seems to me that's tied pretty directly to the economy. five straight months of declining unemployment. it's such a fragile, tenuous recovery. if we go a few months down the line and the unemployment rate stalls and starts spiking back up, does he have any chance of winning re-election. >> i have one respectful disagreement with you. to an extent it is tied to improving economy. it's also tied to the priorities that house democrats and the president have embraced versus the wrong priorities of house republicans and the republican presidential candidates.
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these guys at a time when we have to be focusing on investing in the middle class and fueling this economic recovery, these guys had a hearing on contraception where they denied any woman the right to testify. those are the kinds of priorities that most people disagree with. we're the ones who supported a full extension of the middle class tax cut. this would have been the worst time to take that middle class tax cut away from the middle class. they're the ones who fought it. it's those priorities. every election is about who you're for. it's wrong priorities by the presidential candidates and house republicans versus house democratic priorities to invest in the middle class, protect medicare, rebuild our economy that is defining the polls right now. right now in every single did he neck poll house democrats are ahead. >> i will also tell you that on the gop they would say that that wasn't a conversation about contraception, they would say that was a conversation about religious liberty. if you don't mind, we're going ask you to stick around and continue our conversation. we'll get to some of the other headlines that are making news. christine has an update.
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good morning again, christine. >> good morning to you, soledad. again, i want to begin this hour with some new information. the coalition in afghanistan now admitting that the muslim holy book, the koran, was improperly burned as officials were disposing of religious materials. the new information coming to us from our very own barbara starr. reports of that sparked angry protests at an airbase in afghanistan. officials say the disposal had been planned but the burning of the holy book was not proper. the commander of nato forces in afghanistan quickly apologizes that he has launched an investigation into this. also new this morning greece finally securing a second bailout and it's the largest sovereign debt bailout in the history of the european union. under the terms of the deal grease gets $172 billion in aid and a greegs to millions more in spending cuts and that's on top of the strict austerity measures already passed by parliament in athens. leaders met late into the night last night hashing out the
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details of this. stock futures, the nasdaq, dow, s&p 500 up now. going into today's session the dow is only 50 points away of the 13,000 mark. the last time the dow was here it was early 2008. it was another election year. stocks are up but so are gas prices, aaa says the national average for a gallon of regular is $3.57. gas in some states like hawaii costs more than $4 a gallon. analysts blame recent threats from iran. iran cut off oil sales to britain and france. some forecasters worry that it could boost prices to 5 bucks a gallon. rick santorum has expanded his lead to the double digits. the fundraising has worked out. they raised $4.5 million last month and spent just $3.3 million. newt gingrich raised $5.6 million and spent 5.9 million. meanwhile, mitt romney raised $6.5 million last month. he spent nearly three times that
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amount, 18.7 million. the donald hoping to trump rick santorum's gains in michigan. donald trump called into a local radio show to taut his candidate, mitt romney, and to slam santorum. trump says a win for santorum is a win for the president. >> there is nothing, there is no gift, no christmas gift that could be given better than rick santorum to the democrats. >> michigan primary voters head to the polls on february 28th. trump has left the door open for his own third-party run should mitt romney not get the gop nomination. and just days before hollywood's biggest night, an "l.a. times" study reveals that oscar voters may be an even more select group than we thought. the academy's more than 5700 members are 94% caucasian and 77% male. just 14% of the membership is under the age of 50. and as for its minority voters,
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2% african-american and 2% latino. and this is, of course, the group that decides the big winners on oscar night. >> i'm not stunned by those numbers actually. i'm not shocked at all. i appreciate that. thanks, christine. >> you're welcome. >> i want to talk to you about what you did during one of those stories. when we were talking about donald trump the congressman did one of these. so we want to discuss that on the other side. we have to take a short break. still ahead, u.n. inspectors return to iran. we'll talk about what they can see. stephen colbert back on the air. she was dumped for the super nazi. married george stef nop lis. we'll talk with ali wentworth. catrina, little marvin gay. what's going on? [ male announcer ] this was how my day began.
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welcome back, everybody. top u.n. nuclear weapons inspectors are in tehran. they say the priority is that the possible military dimensions of iran's nuclear program. they're claiming that advances in uranium enrichment and tensions are rising as iran has cut off oil exports to european
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countries in response to sanctions. joining us to talk about all of that is former u.n. weapons inspector david al bright. nice to see you, sir. thanks for talking with us. we've talked about specific questions that the iaea needs to get answers from iran. what are those questions exactly? >> the two most important are did iran work on the processes and the research and development to build a nuclear weapon itself? there are a lot of steps in building a nuclear weapon. enriching uranium, but it's also necessary to learn how to make the enriched uranium turn into a nuclear explosive and that's complicated. another is did iran have a military controlled program to enrich uranium. was this chrome site that was discovered in 2009 part of a program run by the military to produce weapon grade uranium for a nuclear weapon? those are the key areas that
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they've been focusing on. iran has refused to cooperate. it started to cooperate in 2007 and then in 2008 it broke off all cooperation on these two subjects. >> you have said you don't expect cooperation and you don't expect the issues to be resolved unless there is concessions and major concessions from both sides. spell out what those concessions you think would have to be to make progress. >> well, it's a very complicated problem. i think -- what the ia is looking for is some concrete result that shows that iran plans to open up. the irkts a can't deliver very much to iran in terms of concessions so iran will be looking to the west, particularly to the united states, to start to make concessions that get to its security concerns. i mean, will the u.s. be lwillig to say we're not going to try to overthrow the regime? will the u.s. accept this for peaceful uses? these are all very tough concessions, particularly now
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when both countries are entering a political season and the threat of war is increasing. >> mr. albright, catrina from the nation magazine. there's a drum beat for war with iran in this country in israel. what is your assessment of the impact of airstrikes on iran in terms of the viability in terms of dealing with the nuclear program or do you feel that diplomacy has not been adequately used at this stage and that the drum beat should cease? >> i think that can work. i think iran has been put under tremendous pressure and that pressure is starting to pay off. they've agreed that they'll enter negotiations. it's dropped its demands for pre-conditions so i think the negotiations should be given a chance to work. now in terms of the airstrikes, we've looked at this at my organization for years. this is not a case like syria's
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reactor, which israel bombed in 2007. this is a highly dispersed advanced gas centrifuge program that cannot be bombed out of existence. the best you get in these kind of airstrikes that are being talked about is a delay in their program. i've asked israeli officials, can you give us five years? they said, no. we're really talking about something that's a couple years at best, and it may back fire. if iran is attacked, it may just decide, look, we're going for the bomb. they're going to accelerate their effort. then they end up with the bomb sooner than if we hadn't attacked at all. i think it is very important at this time to give negotiations a chance and to give obama the breathing room to try to make those negotiations successful. >> nice to have you. thank you for talking withes. we appreciate it. still ahead on "starting point," newt gingrich says that president obama is the most dangerous president in modern
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american history. we'll talk about that in just a moment. and our next guess from a reagan family to marrying a clinton white house -- there she is. ali wentworth eating. don't rush. you're watching "starting point." we're back in a moment. yeah. ♪ dave, where are we on the new laptop? it's so slow! i'm calling dave. [ telephone rings ] [ sighs ] i need a new i.t. guy. [ male announcer ] in a small business, technology is all you. staples easy tech experts are here to help. you must be... ...dave. [ male announcer ] with everything from new computers, to set-ups, to tune-ups. stapes. that was easy. >> announcer: this is the day.
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this is grace. k.c. and the sunshine band. i love them after all of the hits when they do the awards shows. that's "shake your bootie." ali wentworth's pick. we had some non-winners. she has so many tales to show for it. she's the daughter of a clinton aid. she went to living color. she went to the show seinfeld.
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married to good morning america's george stephanopoulos. >> i think it would be a waste of time. i won't talk politics. i'm not the person to go to. >> we want to talk about your book. it's called ali in wonder land. it's hilarious. as much as it jokes, it's a love letter to your mom. >> it is, actually. she's kind of the thread throughout the whole book. it's basically great advice my mother's given me through very specific moments in my life. >> go shopping. >> go shopping. whenever there's something tragic, she says go to the four seasons. i could be in labor and she'd say, go to the four seasons. i start the book with a boyfriend that i was engaged to and i left. he ended up very quickly bouncing back with another relationship and i was hysterical, fetal, nsnot, cryin. i found out he had chartered a plane and went to the bahamas.
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i was going to take my own life. my mother, there was a long pause on the phone and she said, oh,, ali, nobody goes to the bahamas in july. i thought, that's kind of true. so, yes, it's a love letter to my mom. it also goes from being a kid during watergate through marrying a greek. so to current day. to me it was growing up in d.c. i had a five-year-old perspective on everything. when i moved back with my husband it was a whole different city. and one of the things i sort of experienced as a kid was our phones were tapped during watergate because they thought my stepfather, who was one of the editors in the london sunday times, was a spy. my mother sat me and my siblings down and said, you know, you should know when you hear this clicking sound that there are people listening on the other side to which i said, i'm he sorry, what? there's an audience? there's a built-in audience. >> that's when career and comedy was born. >> i spent the next two years
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going balls and happening up. george told me i can listen to my tapes at the library of congress. there's something to bring forth to my children. >> how did you make that move from d.c. into hollywood? what was the lure of hollywood for you? >> d.c. was so serious to me, especially during that time. with everything, bay of pigs, watergate, that i wanted levity so much that i used to joke around at the table. we were always quizzed on current events. i just wanted to perform. so to me that seemed the natural way to go. even though my parents were saying going to katie gibbs secretarial school, go work on the hill. i was a black sheep. i said, no, i want to go to hollywood. which they had no reference at all. they didn't know anybody. so -- which made it even more -- i felt like a pioneer. >> you went to the show "in living color" because they were looking for a black man. >> so naturally i'm a shoe in. >> is that true? >> they were looking for a black
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guy to replace damon williams which, you know, that kind of thing never stops me, soledad. so i went in and i auditioned a million times and i really played down the d.c. roots, you know what i mean? i wasn't debby -- >> d.c. comedy? >> no, no, no, i wore a polyester halter top and a mini skirt and walked in heels like a newborn colt and got the show. and it was my first professional job. it turns out i played a lot of hookers and strippers which my parents, they couldn't have been more proud of me. my mother used to call me all the time in l.a. and say, i just don't -- why don't you do a movie with meryl streep. i'd say, that's a great idea. i'm going to call meryl -- you know, ironically years later i did do a movie with meryl streep. my mother finally referred to me as an actress and not the other kid. >> when you are home with george stephanopoulos, do you talk about politics? is it all politics?
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that would be my outsider position on people who spend a lot of time in d.c., every morning they get up and they're like, did you see what's happening in the washington post today, darling? >> not too much. not our pillow talk, no. i think he talks about it all day and so coming home, you know, it's very transactional. did you call the plumber? did you know that the kids have art class? it's your turn to pick up the doing pop in the living room. it's a marriage. there are moments where i say explain egypt to me in one minute, but -- and i use him. >> we do that on the show too. >> i definitely use him. he's kind of my walking political dictionary, but that's not our thing. >> i'm interested because you grew up in a washington -- in the kennedy administration and you were young, but you've seen washington through many, many, many years. what's changed? what's the same? >> in a minute. >> in a minute. i'll tell you the biggest thing. the biggest thing was growing up, the republicans and the democrats used to be much more
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social. dinner parties. there would be exchange of ideas. tip o'neal would have a huge fight with somebody and ten minutes later go play tennis. now it's so polarized. when i came back the republicans were on this side of the river, democrats, they don't mix. all the congressmen leave on the weekends. they have to go raise money. it used to be so -- there was a community of people and now it seems very -- >> my mother was close friends with john sherman cooper, republican from kentucky. >> my mother was the only democrat in the white house. that would never happen today. >> the book is called "ali in wonder land." still ahead on "starting point," could democrats win back the house this november? congressman steve israel thinks maybe. he's heading the charge to get more of them elected. we'll talk strategy right away. also why super pac money could have more to do with it. sta with us. we're back in a moment.
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♪ that's little rick ross this morning, hustling. let's get to headlines. >> good morning, soledad. let's start in yemen. people are voting in the country's first presidential election in more than 30 years. the vote signals a formal end to the long rein of the president who was forced to step down in november after months of defiant
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protests. his successor, who's yemen's interim president, is the only candidate on the ballot. he wanted the election to make his presidency official. no let up to the violence in syria. the red cross and other aid groups are trying to get the fighting to stop long enough to get food and medical supplies into areas that desperately need it. at least 18 civilians have been killed across the country today, including three children. president obama hoping the payroll tax deal is just the start of a productive year. our jessica yellen has learned that the president is expected to push congress to pass more such legislation to help the economy and create jobs. he'll push for this at an event at 11:35 eastern time. we're the only network with the story. it's a big change from a white house that was accepting that congress would sit on its hands in an election year. turns out former senator rick santorum voted for some earmarks that he criticized. mitt romney was head of the salt
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lake organizing committee and santorum has tried to use that against him on the campaign trail saying romney stuck taxpayers with the bill for the games. the colbert report is back on air. he took two days off last week reportedly to attend to his ailing 91-year-old mother. last night colbert gave special tribute to mom in a confidential message. >> evidently having 11 children makes you tough as nails. confidential to a lovely lady. >> colbert placing his finger on her nose. she ended her show by tugging her ear to say i love you. >> christine, thank you. president obama's road to re-election, approval rating over 50%. the economy is showing signs of life. gas prices are skyrocketing. he might get a do-something congress. congressman you were trying to work that out earlier today. how does the president keep the
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momentum going? we're back with steve israel of new york. you have said in the past that it's super pac money that keeps you up at night. why is that? >> because in 2010 we lost the house not to house republicans but to carl rove and the coke brothers, special interest groups who spent unlimited amounts of money not disclosing who was funding those commercials, beaming into congressional districts and affecting the impact of those elections. this was a huge advantage that the republicans had in 2010. we're not going to concede that to them in 2012. >> you're going to use super pac money and try to win back the house. how likely is that going to be? >> two things, first of all, look, i'm a huge baseball fan. i love my new york mets. i've never been to a baseball game in history where one team doesn't get bats. so if a republican will use super pacs, we will too. when we take the majority the first thing we'll do is pass the disclose act so people know
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who's funding those pacs. we don't want corporate companies to -- >> your -- let me just stop you for one second. that analogy is a little flawed. there's never been a team that says we have a moral issue with that. we are against bats and then they go ahead and use the bats. that's where i think your analogy is a little bit flawed, right? >> well, the stakes are so high. i don't think it is flawed, soledad, with all due respect. the stakes are so high for the middle class. you have a house republican leadership that has turned its back on them, that has tried to end medicare as we know it, that has been for tax breaks. we're going to fight them tooth and nail with every tool that we have. that's why i'm so confident because of their wrong priorities, that's why i'm so confident that the house is in play. even the washington post two weeks ago ran a headline that people in both political parties believe that the house is in play. >> representative israel, so is the official position of the democratic party now to fight for an amendment to overturn citizens united, the decision
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which is unleashed the super pac money into an already broken system of money in politics? >> it's my official position, yeah. i believe that, look, we tried to pass the disclose act when we had the majority. senate republicans refused to go along with us. most house republicans, if not all, i don't recall, voted against that kind of disclosure. and so if the supreme court has said that these big special interests can spend unlimited amounts of undisclosed money trying to influence elections, i believe that we have to correct that, the supreme court decision. the way you correct a supreme court decision is either through legislation or a constitutional amendment. the stake of our democracy, that's what we're talking about. are we going to allow a small group of people behind closed doors pump tens of millions of dollars into elections without even being honest with the american people on who's paying for those elections? this is one of the things that's a major issue of our time. >> there's something contradictory to me. i agree but you're saying we're
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going to do it. you're clearly outraged by it. >> no, we're going to disclose. >> let me play a little bit -- >> i believe at that all of these expenditures should be disclosed. >> go ahead, sir. >> that's where i have the same outrage that you do. you take a moral imperative position and then say you're going to engage in it. i would go back to election 2010 where you say the reason that you lost was because of all the money going into the race. wasn't it because the american public was outraged about all of the things that had happened during the president's administration, the passing of obama care, the fact the economy was still going into the tank? wasn't it there where you lost it? popular vote, the man on the street, not the money being fed into the race. >> well, i'll tell you what. i will partially agree with some of your analysis, scott. >> okay. >> that is there were 9 million independent voters, that's maybe as good as you're going to get though. there are 9 million independent voters across the country who voted for house democrats in 2006 and 2008 and didn't vote for us in 2010.
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scott, if you take a look at every single poll, all the gee nerks, we are winning those independent voters back. why? because your party in the house has chosen millionaires over medicare, fought a middle class tax cut, and has spent time trying to figure out how you re-define what rape is instead of how you build the recovery of our economy. so your priorities -- you are where we may have been two years ago and that's why we're ahead in all the generic polling. we've got 75 seats in play with problem solvers. a nasa astronaut, two star general, the former police chief in orlando who brought crime down 40%. we are the party of solutions. we have problem solvers. that's why the house is in play. >> let me play for you, do we have a clip? is this a full screen graphic? let me play what newt gingrich had to say about president obama really stepping up his attacks of late. here's what he said. >> all of you should be very cleanly concerned about national security.
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barack obama is the most dangerous president in modern american history. >> what do you make of that? >> i don't know what part of killing osama bin laden, surging in afghanistan, and taking out more high level al qaeda operatives in three years than the entire bush administration took out in eight years does newt gingrich not understand? the record speaks for itself. it's just an irresponsible sound bite and it's why the republicans are in the condition that they are in. they have no credibility. >> congressman steve israel joining us this morning from my home area of long island. nice to see you, sir. thanks for talking with us. >> long island. thanks. >> that's how we say it there, long island. still ahead on "starting point," we told you a little bit about this earlier, donald trump tearing into rick santorum saying he'd be a christmas gift to the democrats. we want to chat with the panel about that and all the other political issues raised by congressman israel straight ahead. okay, team! after age 40, we can start losing muscle --
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with lower-calorie options. with more choices and fewer calories, america's beverage companies are delivering. i get it. none of my gospel gets played today. we are like a rick ross show. i like that song. it's called "you the '." let's talk with the panel about what we were talking about before the break which was donald trump bashing rick santorum's electability. here's what he told the local radio show about what a santorum win would mean. >>ing there nothing, there is no gift, no christmas gift that could be given better than rick santorum to the democrats. >> let's get back to the panel on that. you literally closed -- it looked like you were in prayer.
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you were like this. >> at least i wasn't rolling my eyes. >> you did not roll your eyes. you looked yun happy. >> donald trump is the gift that keeps on giving. you don't know where to put that after a while. i don't think romney wanted that endorsement to play out the way he did. i'm certain he doesn't want donald going around the country now calling into local radio stations and touting why santorum is good -- bad, romney is good. he should go back to his tv show and do what he does best which is promote himself. >> donald trump is a hyper leveraged ego with a lot of hair, but on this one on rick santorum, i think he's right. i do think rick santorum is -- >> look at you agreeing with donald trump. wow. >> i think santorum -- >> are we rolling on this? >> i think he's an extremist right wing protest candidate and not the -- he's not someone who can win election. he's out of the mainstream, way out of the mainstream. i think what he's been saying particularly about women -- >> are you talking about rick santorum? i thought she was talking about
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donald trump. >> i agree with donald trump who is this hyper leveraged ego. i do think rick santorum is a christmas gift. i think there is an extremism there. as i said earlier, he is running for theologian in chief. the head of the rnc said earlier, at the end of the day, this is an economic election. rick santorum with every breath he takes right now is obscuring the economic message he has, which i may disagree with, but at least it has a root in manufacturing and some other -- >> do you think the dems really focus on rick santorum because they're putting a lot of energy, i ask every single democrat, dodged it. do you think a lot of the focus is to raise his profile so that it helps undermine the romney economic message? >> i think there is something to that because i think the attacks that we've been seeing from democrats so far against rick santorum are not the attacks really that we're going to be seeing from democrats if rick santorum were the nominee. that's different from romney. what you see is they're using
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their a material. they believe mitt romney is the likely opponent. they believe the election is underway. they're rolling that out. with santorum it has a much more sort of cookie cutter going through the motions feel to it. if they actually drum as an opponent t will be very personal and how extreme he is. >> a word for you. >> president obama does not want to run on his record. he can't run on the economy because the economy is going into the tank. >> really? you had me till that point. the economy is doing this? it's very slow but it's an upward -- >> the economy is doing that. >> slowly. >> inventories have been built up over time. that's where you show that. >> the graphic is that. it is -- you cannot argue that it's not improving slowly and slightly. >> and the austerity economics we see being played out in europe where it has failed. it's the kind of austerity politics paul ryan, your party would bring and really take us into the tank. >> now they're fighting. they were together. >> we have a philosophical major
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disagreement. >> we have to live within our means. do you live on a budget? do you spend more than -- >> i think one of the most insidious metaphors -- i think families sit around the table and talk about investments. what we need in this country is the investment in our future in the short and medium term and then we think long term. >> what we need on my show is a commercial break. you can continue. >> capitalism at its best. >> yes. going to commercial. i'll keep talking and reading off the telepropter while they ignore me. we'll talk about a finalist on "top chef" who has been proving that diabetes doesn't have to be a food prison. sanjay gupta will join us. we're going to continue to fight through the commercial break and back on the other side. i tried weight loss plans... but their shakes aren't always made for people with diabetes. that's why there's new glucerna hunger smart shakes. they have carb steady, with carbs that digest slowly to help minimize blood sugar spikes. and they have 6 grams of sugars.
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so sam tall bot is best known as a finalist on "top chef." he was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 12 years old. he has a new cookbook out. our chief medical correspond department, dr. sanjay gupta joins us. good morning. tell me about this guy. >> reporter: you know, he represents a growing population of people in this country, soledad. you and i have talked about this, but half of americans expected to either have diabetes or pre-diabetic by 2020. sam's story was very similar. he became interested at 8 years old. he used to cook a lot for his parents. it grew from there. at age 12, as you mentioned. >> he was diagnosed with type i
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diabetes. this is juvenile type of diabetes. this is how he sort of dedicated his life. i want you to listen for a second, soledad, to what it was like specifically when a 12-year-old is diagnosed. take a listen. >> you know, my uncle, my mom's brother was diabetic. so a lot of the symptoms that happen when you're becoming newly diagnosed, things happened to me. my mom had seen them growing up with her brother. so one night i would use the bathroom 15 times over the course of a 10 hour sleeping period. my mom took me to the hospital. we went to the emergency room and they checked my blood sugar and it was like 980. it was crazy. >> reporter: normal is usually below 100. >> normal was 80 to 120. mine was 980. my mom burst into tears. >> reporter: those two experiences really informed the rest of his life. he's 34 years old now. you can see he's in terrific shape, but he's trying to cook specific sli for people who have diabetes or worried about their blood pressure. 12 years old, so 20 years later
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this is where he's sort of dedicated a lot of his attention, soledad. >> let me ask you what his thoughts are on paula deen. last time we were talking shelves we were talking about paula deen and her diabetes crisis. >> reporter: i was curious about that as well. a lot of these chefs, a lot of them cook for certain audiences. i asked sam specifically about that considering his diagnosis. take a listen. >> i think that when any person with a bit of notoriety that has a platform to speak on, whether it be a chef, doctor, whatever your profession is and you're speaking from the heart, people are listening to you. >> reporter: he says that she seems to have turned things around. as you know, soledad, she is a spokesperson now for a pharmaceutical company that focuses on insulin pumps specifically. he said, look, you know, he thinks that she's advocating on behalf of people who have diabetes now. that's a good thing because of these increasing numbers over the next several years.
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>> he is advocating as well. thanks. appreciate the update. still ahead this morning, the "end point" with our panel up next. so who ordered the cereal that can help lower cholesterol and who ordered the yummy cereal? yummy. [ woman ] lower cholesterol. [ man 2 ] yummy. i got that wrong didn't i? [ male announcer ] want great taste and whole grain oats that can help lower cholesterol? honey nut cheerios. that can help lower cholesterol? ♪ ♪ one, two, three, four ♪ you say ♪ flip it over and replay ♪ we'll make everything okay ♪ walk together the right way ♪ do, do, do, do
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[ technician ] are you busy? management just sent over these new technical manuals.
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noits ♪ 6. we are listening to the rebirth brass band from new orleans. that's exactly like you. they just won a grammy. congratulations to them. we're celebrating mardi gras today. the folks have sent us a king
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cake. inside is a little plastic baby. whoever gets the baby has to buy the next cake. you get to be crowned queen or king. i'm going to cut it up. bruce, will you help me hand this out. i want to find this baby. my end point is happy mardi gras. congressman, if you will start for us. what's your "end point" this morning? >> my first "end point" is i'm going to see whether i can find the baby. >> yes, you will. >> at the same time i'll still be continuing to look to see what the president has done favorably for either the middle class or for our middle eastern policy. just as hard it is to find the little baby in this, it will -- >> i like the way you smoothly segued from the king cake to your point of day. >> we've been talking a lot about a surge for santorum. i'd like to talk about a surge from sanity and from this program, jest ka ahlquist who spokes in such poised ways at 16 about a core value of this country with is freedom from
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religion and freedom of religion. i also thought the international atomic energy agency inspector david al bright in speaking about the importance of continuing negotiations to avoid a war with iran. sani sanity. >> i thought jessica was great. she's 16 years old. maybe she wants to join the panel. she's the most mature 16-year-old i have seen in a long time. find that baby in your cake. what's your "end point"? >> i'm worried about choking. >> oh, come on. come on. >> be ashamed if it all ends here. >> a shame for you. >> i hope that's not my ending point. mine today would be we talked about santorum, we talked about the republican race. we've got the debate. tomorrow final debate before michigan and arizona. what's interesting to me is if you look at these past challenges, rick perry, herman cain, newt gingrich, all of them have melted down in the debates. >> are you predicting a meltdown? >> no. this is what's so interesting about santorum. i think

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